At this point, multiple studies have confidently concluded that low-carb diets truly are the best approach for weight loss, not to mention improving overall health and preventing disease. In this article, we’ll dive into the top 10 low-carbohydrate foods that are especially helpful to lose weight, and that promote optimal health, as well.
You’ll notice that a lot of the foods in this list are protein sources, as protein has been shown to be the most important macronutrient (the 3 being protein, carbohydrate and fat) to boost weight loss efforts.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 low carb foods to support weight loss:
Eggs are a complete protein source, meaning that they provide all essential amino acids that the body needs in equal amounts. Egg whites are almost 100% protein (and the part that people are most likely to react to, so waiting until year one with an infant is advised), and the egg yolk is an incredibly rich source of important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats. 1 egg offers about 7 grams of protein, so 2-3 eggs would be 1 serving of protein in a meal.
Whole eggs are also very satiating (they keep you full), and one study found that those who had eggs for breakfast instead of bagels ate less for a full 36 hours.
Wild Caught Fish
Wild fish and seafood is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, as they are not only high in protein but also one of the best sources of heart healthy, omega 3 fatty acids. The exact protein content will vary depending on the type of fish you choose, but most offer roughly 20 grams per 3 oz. serving. Fish (and salmon, in particular) is relatively low in calories and will keep you full for awhile, not to mention it is high in the mineral iodine, which plays a key role in metabolism and (therefore) weight loss.
Turkey and Chicken Breast
Both of these lean protein sources are great for weight loss, and it doesn't have to be Thanksgiving to enjoy turkey, as it is equally as good of a protein choice as chicken. It is always a good idea to vary your protein sources, as eating the same source day in and day out can set you up for potential food sensitivities and allergies. Most meat sources are weight loss friendly, as they are high in protein, which (as mentioned above), is a key macronutrient to lose fat and gain muscle.
Beef (especially grass fed beef), is one of the best protein sources available. Only 3 ounces of lean beef offers 22 grams of protein, plus you benefit from the myriad of key nutrients like iron and vitamin B12. If the beef is grass fed, feel free to choose fattier cuts, as the fat in good quality beef is highly beneficial, too. However, if conventionally raised beef if your only option, stick to leaner cuts.
Calorie for calorie, tuna is almost all protein (this fish is very low in fat and calories). It is also quite convenient and easy in a pinch, as you can simply open a can of (hopefully wild) tuna, add it to a salad, and you've got yourself a healthy meal. A whopping 94% of the calories in tuna come from protein, and 1 cup contains 39 grams. Choose wild tuna in water or olive oil.
Almonds definitely top the list of vegetarian protein options, offering 6 grams per 1 ounce serving (about 1 tablespoon), and being loaded with fiber, magnesium and vitamin E. Even though almonds are high in (healthy) fats, they are actually a great weight loss food and snack, as they keep you feeling full for a long time and help to ward off cravings. Interestingly, studies have shown that people who eat nuts tend to be leaner than those who do not.
Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that have been shown to increase your energy expenditure and help you burn fat. One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day can actually burn an extra 120 calories, which is definitely significant if you’re trying to lose weight.
Chia seeds are an exceptional superfood and surprisingly low in calories. They are high in antioxidants and fiber, are a great plant source of protein, and have even been shown to lower your risk of heart disease. These tasty and nutritious little seeds have also been found to reduce appetite.
While it’s important not to go overboard on fruit when you’re on a low-carb diet (especially if your goal is weight loss), grapefruit has been specifically studied for its role in a weight loss diet). The grapefruit is a low-sugar fruit, and one study found that participants who ate a half grapefruit before meals lost almost 4 pounds more than those who did not over a 3 month period.
Last but certainly not least, avocados definitely make the list of low-carb, weight loss friendly foods. Packed with healthy and satiating fats, along with tons of fiber, vitamins, minerals and plant compounds, avocados are a unique fruit that are perfect on a low-carb diet.
While getting plenty of food variety and balance is important on any diet (low-carb or other), including these 10 foods will ensure that you are supporting your weight loss efforts in the healthiest way possible. And of course, getting plenty of daily servings of fresh vegetables (especially dark, leafy greens), should always be top priority.
Carb Manager is the easiest and most powerful way to count carbs and live the low carb life. In this blog, we've invited experts on LCHF to contribute their views on everything low carb.